Founder SoHarlem; Creative Outlet
Janet Rodriguez, SoHarlem; Creative Outlet, Founding President and CEO, has more than twenty years’ experience in policy and grantmaking positions in public, private, and corporate philanthropy. That, along with a personal understanding of the critical role the arts play in child and community development, led her to serve on boards, manage institutions, initiate change, and become a social entrepreneur. In 2004, she founded Straight Out of Harlem (SOH) as an outlet for local and global artists who create functional and wearable art. In 2010, to address rising unemployment in Harlem, she expanded the mission of SOH to include building a community-based cultural workforce. From 2001 through 2009, Rodriguez served as Vice President of the JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy Group. While at the foundation, she was responsible for providing leadership and support to the National Community Relations team charged with developing and implementing philanthropic strategies in their local communities. She was central to the integration of the three focus areas of JPMC’s philanthropy – Community Development, Education, and Arts and Culture – in a coordinated, holistic manner to benefit low to moderate income communities, and also integral in identifying opportunities for leveraging grant dollars by collaborating with other public/private partners. As the subject matter expert in arts and culture, she was responsible for directing the national arts & culture initiatives across the country. Throughout her tenure at JPMorgan Chase, she initiated many major sponsorships and corporate programs such as Slavery & the Making of New York at the New York Historical Society; Queens Latino Cultural Festival; The Sphinx Organization; On the Town Program; expanded the JPMorgan Chase Regrant and Free Summer Art Series programs; and increased support to arts organizations in underserved communities. Overall she has been responsible for disseminating more than $50 million in grants. Other professional experiences include: Program Officer with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Managing Director of the Aaron Davis Hall; Consultant to the New York Philharmonic’s Music Assistance Fund and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Program Director for the Kentucky Arts Council; and Co-Founder of Latin American Music in Alternative Spaces. Rodriguez is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of the Arts, MFA in Arts Administration; Columbia University’s Teachers College, MA in Art Education; and New York University, BS, Art Education. She has served on many boards, among them the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, the World Media Foundation, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and Grantmakers in the Arts.